Maasai Pillars Project

Location: Rombo, Kenya

Project Type: Community development, Women

People Served: Masaai people in Rombo

Project Cost: USD $5,000

Timeline: 2011

Community Contribution: Community members will organize the community center, make handicrafts to sell, and spread awareness of their culture to visitors.

Project Description:

The Masaai people of Rombo, Kenya are a culture who for centuries have been semi-nomadic cattle farmers. A series of serious droughts have killed off the majority of the cattle belonging to the Masaai of Rombo, forcing them to start growing crops in order to survive. This is an extremely sudden change in their culture; up until this change, growing crops was considered a negative act because it digs into mother earth. However, the current Masaai generation sees the need to change in order to survive. The most important part of this change is ensuring that the amazing culture of their own people is preserved despite the rapid changes that are occurring.

We are partnering with a grassroots Masaai organization called Pillars of Masaai Development to raise money that will allow the Masaai of Rombo to create a community center where they can meet, sell handicrafts to tourists, and educate visitors about their culture.

The handicrafts aspect would allow women to earn income and gain more independence while at the same time supporting their families and community. It would also spread Masaai culture to visitors of the area. The proceeds of these sales would initially go towards proving domestic utensils and products to the women in the community, and would also be put towards preventing deforestation in the community.

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